- Town of Tunica
- Gateway to the Blues
- Things to Do
By Lisa Konupka on Tuesday August 17, 2010
Elvis is King! That has been the saying for many years and is evident every year on August 15. That is the date for the annual candlelight vigil at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. This year marked the 32nd annual vigil. I have always heard about it, and seeing that Graceland is just down the road from Tunica I decided to see for myself.
I arrived at about 7pm to find a sea of dedicated fans already lining the streets waiting for their chance to pay tribute. I was astonished at the number of people that came from all over the world to this event and very humbled to be a part. I met a lot of very nice people, some from as far away as Brazil that had a tattoo of Elvis. One lady I spoke with had been to every vigil and even attended his funeral.
At 8:30pm the ceremony began with everyone lighting their candles and the gates opening. We were told that the heat index was 114 degrees and that in January for the annual birthday vigil it was 3 degrees! Wow, What a difference. During our four and a half hour wait to pay our respects I met a couple from Oklahoma, Chuck and Judy. I couldn’t have asked for better line mates. They had been doing this for many years. Judy had even been lucky enough to see Elvis in concert before his passing. As you pass through the gates, you relight your candle with lanterns that are lit from the flame at his gravesite. At midnight we made it to the meditation garden and was amazed by the memorials that had been sent from all around the world. I saw flowers from Italy, The Netherlands, Brazil and even individuals wanting to show their respect.
As we walked back down the driveway, the sea of candles was beautiful. I was shocked how peaceful and quiet it was. Even after enduring the heat and the lines I was very happy that I went. We had a great night and met lots of new friends. I especially enjoyed hearing all the Elvis stories. It seems everyone has one.